Impact of Chronic Illness on Relationships !!!!!!!

Impact of Chronic Illness upon Relationships and Social Activity

Ways to Maintain Healthy Relationships & Social Activity Despite the Challenges of Living with Chronic Illness

Chronic illness impacts every aspect of life, including relationships and social activity.  The unpredictability of symptoms and fatigue makes it especially difficult to stay social.  Friends, family, partners, caregivers, etc. must also adjust to a “new normal” as they walk alongside someone with a chronic illness.  At a recent support group meeting, we discussed ways to maintain healthy, supportive, and fulfilling relationships with loved ones despite the challenges of living with a chronic vestibular or balance disorder.

These articles offer valuable insight and helpful tips for the chronically ill as well as suggestions for loved ones and caregivers:

How to Cope When Chronic Pain (Illness) Affects Friends, Family & Social Life

7 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong Despite a Chronic Illness

Supporting Relationships Through Chronic Illness

3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew

Free eBook: Chronic Illness & Friendship

Chronic Illness and Friendship Resources (Click to download PDF)

52 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend (Click to download PDF)

How to Help a Sick Friend (Click to download PDF)

What Those with Chronic Pain or Illness DO Want to Hear

10 Things You Should Say to Someone with A Chronic Illness

15 Things Not to Say to Someone With A Chronic Illness or Invisible Illness

What Those with Chronic Pain or Illness DON’T Want to Hear

Part 2: What the Chronically Ill DON”T Want to Hear

How to Help Your Caregiver

A Not-To-Do List for Caregivers of the Chronically Ill

The Spoon Theory


© Copyright 2015, Seattle Dizzy Gro

The intent of this site is to help others through sharing information.  Kelly Helsel does not endorse or intend to mislead any readers as to the content of any articles or books on this site.



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Bracing for the Setbacks of Traumatic Brain Injury !!!!!

Bracing for the Setbacks

Comments [12]

September 22, 2014

Bracing for the Setbacks

TC, Jack, and Abby Maslin

I’ll admit it: I got comfortable. Life was finally beginning to settle after the tumultuous, exhausting ride of the past few years. I was fulfilling my lifetime dream of getting yoga certified (in Greece no less!) and with a little distance from my day-to-day life, I began to relax. I stopped hiding my cell phone under my yoga mat during class, telling myself the days of daily emergency phone calls were behind me. I was in beautiful Santorini for heaven’s sake! And in just a few days my husband, TC, was going travel by himself — for the first time since his injury — across an ocean to meet me for 10 glorious days of a seriously postponed honeymoon. Life would have to cut the Maslins some slack. If only for a month.

But, as we in the TBI world know all too well, that’s not how it works. Brain injury doesn’t go away just because you decide to go away. So when I got the call from home that TC had been hospitalized after a series of seizures, I was surprised by my own reaction. My mind immediately returned to that day two years ago, the day everything fell apart. I envisioned myself as I was that horrific day — shaking and sobbing uncontrollably in the waiting room, wondering if I would be a widow, whether my son would grow up without a father. The same fears suddenly flooded my brain. It was an extreme reaction to a situation far less severe, but a reaction rooted in one terribly traumatic experience.

Logically, TC and I have always known to expect setbacks. Living with a traumatic brain injury means acknowledging the potential arrival of any number of health consequences. But this series of seizures was the first real setback since TC’s injury and I guess we thought we were in the clear, at least as far as seizures were concerned. To be honest, I try not to think too far into the future most of the time. I don’t really want to know what TBI looks like 20 or 30 years down the road. There’s nothing I can do in the present to change that aspect of our future reality, so I try hard not to feed those particular anxieties.

But, wow, did this setback catch me off-guard. It caught TC off-guard too, sinking us both into a mild depression that lasted for several weeks. We were incredibly disappointed, of course, at having to cancel a trip we’ve been trying to take for five years, but we were mainly upset by the prospect that so much hard work could suddenly be wiped out by something outside of our control.

Fortunately, TC has made a very nice recovery in the past month and with the exception of our canceled trip, life has returned to the “new normal.” But this experience has certainly given me pause. It’s hard to trust a universe that is so inherently unstable. It’s hard to feel safe in a life that has unfolded so differently from our plans. And the reality is that those feelings are just one part of the TBI experience. Without a whole lot of wisdom to impart on the subject of setbacks, I’d like to simply offer the following suggestions:

Call in your reserves.
When you encounter a setback — no matter how big or small — it is absolutely the time to call in reinforcement. For me, support came in the form of the breathing and meditation techniques I had been practicing in the weeks before. Sitting quietly as I drew awareness to my own breath forced me to stay present and keep my mind from worrying far into the future. For others, it may be phoning that one friend or family member who really “gets” it when you’re having a down day, or perhaps reaching out to an acquaintance in the TBI community. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there are plenty of folks in the TBI network who are here for each other.

Prepare for possible post-setback depression.
Friends who have experienced other forms of chronic illness have also reported a similar type of mild depression following a health setback. I feel pretty good about how TC and I handled our sadness during this most recent experience. After acknowledging our disappointment, fears, and frustration, we spent a few days just living in those feelings. We watched comforting old movies, kept to ourselves a bit, and tried to take it really easy. After a few days of hibernating, we were ready to face the world again and the depressive feelings began to fade. It’s so important to monitor these feelings, however. Mild depression may not necessarily just go away, and staying honest about your mental health is critical. For many of us in the TBI world, depression seems to be constantly looming in the background. Be honest. Ask for help. I can’t reiterate those points strongly enough.

Setbacks stink, and while I wish I could look into my crystal ball in order to navigate the waters ahead, I recognize that setbacks are a natural part of the TBI landscape. Our world is up and it’s down and it’s often exhausting, but I am learning to appreciate and revel in every moment of quiet and calm.

The intent of this site is to help others through sharing information.  Kelly Helsel does not endorse or intend to mislead any readers as to the content of any articles or books on this site.

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Welcome to Invisible me, Invisible you !!!!!!

This is my new site!!!! Thank you to Paul M Van dort for  building this new site that is also responsive.  This means you can see this site on I phones, I pads, laptops and computers.  This will make it easier for everyone to access my page.   The Invisible me, Invisible you is a site is dedicated to people with invisible illnesses, this could be Autoimmune disease, Vestibular disorders, or any illness you can’t see on the outside.  Hopefully patients with invisible illnesses can get some understanding from family, friends, co-worker and Doctor’s  understand what the effects of what invisible illnesses has on patients with these diseases both mentally and physically.


The intent of this site is to help others through sharing information.  Kelly Helsel does not endorse or intend to mislead any readers as to the content of any articles or books on this site.


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Supporting people with invisible illnesses